A Caryn Review: Peepshow (London Lads #4) by Clare London

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Another cute little installment in the London Lads series!  I can imagine the author coming up with the premise for this one, perhaps walking by a CCTV monitor and catching a glimpse of a cute man, and spinning off into a fantasy about that cute man…..

Ken is a film student who has taken a temporary night job monitoring the security cameras in an upscale shopping center.  It’s perfect, right?  Not much to do, plenty of time to study, easy money.  But the reality is that it is mind-numbingly boring, and he dreads walking in every day.  For entertainment, he started imagining stories and conversations for the people he saw on the screens, and the monitor of the yard behind the bistro became his favorite – waiters taking breaks, smoking, laughing, grousing, and rushing back into the restaurant.  He quickly identifies one waiter in particular he likes to watch, because he’s sexy and fit, but when the waiter looks right into the camera and winks, Ken becomes obsessed.

Ken has a close group of friends, but he’s the shy one of the bunch, and this night job gives him a good excuse to avoid being set up with blind dates.  Besides, after that wink, Waiter is now teasing, showing off, as if he knows someone is watching him.  Ken can’t help but be turned on, and continues to watch for Waiter avidly, though he is starting to feel a bit like a perverted voyeur.

And then, he meets Waiter in real life.  And Waiter knows that Ken’s been watching….

OK, for me, the book really should have ended right about there.  I was enjoying the tease and the mystery, and felt the reveal was too soon, too convenient, and really pretty anti-climactic.  And instead of just moving ahead with a date, there was all this unnecessary angst about how the teasing, and the voyeurism, would prevent them from trusting each other, blah, blah, blah.  I was thinking, hey, this is a short novella, there is no time for this kind of BS, just admit what you did, and that you enjoyed it!  Own it!  OK that was a bit of a spoiler, and I usually try to leave those out of my reviews, but I didn’t like this book as much as I have the others in the series.  It was enjoyable, until it wasn’t.  I thought about taking off a star, but since it truly was a 3 star read right up until that moment, I thought I’d let it stand.  I’ll still finish reading the series, but I am hoping that this was the low point, and the next one will be more fun.

I wasn’t as impressed with the cover art by Valerie Tibbs for this one.  The models seemed a bit older than I imagined Ken and Waiter, and there is nothing else to connect the art to the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd edition, 63 pages
Published July 26th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 23rd 2013)
ASIN B073R3Y9ZR
Edition Language English

A Free Dreamer Pre Release Review: Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

After scientists stumbled across an anomalous human hormone present during moments of emotional intimacy, further research created the ability to harness the direction of living energy and pinpoint when two lines will merge. Personalized chips are now implanted beneath the thumbnails of every infant, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. Fate is now a calculation.

But loving someone isn’t.

When Shannon Wurther, the youngest detective in Southern California, finds himself face-to-face with Aiden Maar, the reckless art thief Shannon’s precinct has been chasing for months, they are both stunned. Their Camellia Clocks have timed out, and the men are left with a choice—love one another or defy fate.

The idea of a sort of inbuilt clock counting down to Day X isn’t exactly a new idea. Usually, Day X marks the person’s death. In “Fortitude Smashed” the Camellia Clock counts down to the second when you meet the love of your life, your soulmate. I think that was an interesting take on things.

With the whole Camellia Clock and personalized chip set-up, I’d expected a Science Fiction story. What I got, however, was a contemporary story set in  present-day California.  I must admit, I was a bit disappointed by that. It almost seemed a little bit lazy to me, as if the author didn’t want to bother with coming up with a whole new world. Instead, she opted to set it in the present day and just added the Camellia Clocks. Consequently, there was very little worldbuilding involved. I would’ve liked to know how the whole Clock thing actually works and if there is a way to opt out of having that chip implanted.

Considering Shannon is a cop and Aiden is a thief, I’d expected lots of tension there. So I figured, even if there’s no SciFi plot there, at least there’s still gonna be lots of conflict. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t. Aiden stops his thievery pretty soon and the tension between the two is the usual romance-tension. I will say that I’m normally not a reader of contemporary romances, because I always feel like I need a little more than “just” a love story. And that’s just what “Fortitude Smashed” is: Just a contemporary love story.

I liked that both Aiden and Shannon had their issues. Especially Aiden struggled with mental illness and Shannon was wonderfully supportive. Neither of them was exactly perfect but they still worked together really well.

There were plenty of sex scenes and they were really hot, without being overly explicit. Taylor Brooke definitely has a way with words. All her descriptions are wonderful, no matter if she was writing about the landscape or body parts. She definitely also has a sense of humour and I found myself laughing out loud a lot.

Overall, “Fortitude Smashed” was a bit of a disappointment to me. I’d expected SciFi but got contempary. I’d expected a crime plot but got a “normal” love story. I guess I mostly just had the wrong expectations. As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of contemporary romance novels and I probably wouldn’t have picked this up, if I’d known it wasn’t Science Fiction.

Still, this book did have its moments and I’m sure lovers of contemporary romance witha bit of a twist can and will enjoy this book. It just wasn’t for me.

Cover: I really like the cover. It looks very summery and is a nice change from the usual covers of M/M romance. And it matches the feel the story gave me.

Sales Links:

Amazon

Interlude Press

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository 

Book details:

ebook, 346 pages

Expected publication: September 21st 2017 by Interlude Press

A Lila Release Day Review: The Foxling Soldati (Soldati Hearts #2) by Charlie Cochet

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Foxling Toka has served the Soldati king for centuries, and now he attends to the kingdom’s cherished Soldati prince. It’s a position of honor, and as Toka helps the once-human prince adapt to their magical realm, he finds joy in their friendship. He also grows bolder in his encounters with Rayner, Soldati warrior and the king’s second. But the laws are clear: servants and Soldati are not permitted to mate. It doesn’t matter that Toka lost his heart to the dashing cad long ago.

Rayner never imagined he would fall in love with a servant, but the clever and beautiful foxling has ensnared him, and he resents the regulations keeping them apart. When an arrogant and spiteful king visits from a neighboring realm, Rayner is in danger of losing everything. But Soldati warriors don’t surrender, and he intends to fight all the harder to keep Toka where he belongs—in Rayner’s arms.

The Foxling Soldati is a perfect combination of longing, love, and sweet nothings. All the encounters between Toka and Rayner showed how much they cared for each other, even before they realized the depths of their love. It was refreshing to read how they interact, not only with each other but we those around them–including those that wanted to harm them.

It’s not often that a sequel is better than the first book in the series, but in this case, it is true. Perhaps because we already know the world, their customs, and the characters making it easier to concentrate on the plot and the romance instead of trying to place the story.  All the extra details just add to a well-built world.

The story has excruciating moments in which the reader fears for Toka, Rayner, and the future they want to build together. But the author did an excellent job keeping the scenes to the point and the overall plot simple and intense.

The ending fits the romance and the drama in the story. Overall, this is great short to read between stories–with lots of aww moments and cheering for the underdog. A very cute love story.

The cover by L.C. Chase is beautiful and perfect for the story. Toka’s depiction matches the characteristic mentioned in the story well. The colors matched the previous book and we get to see Toka’s and Rayner’s shifted forms too.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

ebook, 102 pages
Published: August 16, 2017, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781635336597
Edition Language: English

Series: Soldati Hearts
Book #1: The Soldati Prince
Book #2: The Foxling Soldati

New Release Special! King of the Fire Dancers (Shift Happens #1) by S.T. Sterlings (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  King of the Fire Dancers

Series: Shift Happens, Book One

Author: S.T. Sterlings

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: Aug 14, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 89700

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, abduction, captivity, shifters, slow burn, enemies to lovers

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host S.T. Sterling here today on her King of the Fire Dancers tour. We have a author’s interview, excerpt and giveaway for all our readers to check out.

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~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with S.T. Sterlings ~

When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it?

I have the habit of starting a WIP, and then just fizzling out with it, especially when self-doubt starts to rear its ugly head.  King of the Fire Dancers is the first full original story that I’ve ever written, so I’m really proud of myself for actually seeing it through to the end! Unfortunately, the inspiration behind it is a huge spoiler, so I’ll just say that the idea itself came from furniture we used to have in our house when I was a child, haha.

Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?

I generally write when I can find the team. I’ve been saying that I need to get on a writing schedule for years. I used to write freelance articles, and I’m a horrible procrastinator, so I learned to write really quickly. Sometimes I’ll ask friends to give me deadlines, so that I’ll have something to aim for. Otherwise, I write whenever I can find the time to do so.

Briefly describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first? Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?

In the past, I never used outlines. I never want to go back to that life, haha. I need an outline now. I lose sight of the finer details without one. Every now and then, I’ll search for photos or videos as inspiration. I love music, and I may use it to put me in the writing mood, but I can’t write while it’s playing. If I have anything playing in the background while I write, it’s usually a (bad) horror movie.

Normally, I let the words flow out, and then try to make sense of it later. There have been times where I go back to edit, and I have no idea of what I was going for, lol. Editing is super important, as is a great editor.

Where did the desire to write LGBTQIA+ stories come from?

I’m in the community, so I always feel more comfortable writing LGBTQIA+ stories. I think I’ve read so many strictly heterosexual romances over the years that I don’t really have it in me to want to read more. I want to read stories about people like me. We deserve to have our stories told, and our voices heard.

How much research do you do when writing a story and what are the best sources you’ve found for giving an authentic voice to your characters?

Honestly, it depends on the story. My day job is a librarian, so I LOVE research. As for authentic voice, I think this comes from reading as much as you can in various genres. Also, pay attention to the people you interact with, and the world around you. None of my characters are particularly based off of anyone, but some of them may share characteristics of people I know.

Synopsis

When he’s propositioned by a wealthy stranger, it seems Coy Conlin’s impoverished life is about to be upgraded. But before he can share the news with his family, he comes home to find his grandmother murdered and his little brother missing. To make matters worse, he’s thrown in prison along with every other shifter under the Sovereign’s orders.

August Seaton left his laboratory job at the Asuda Registry to become a Registry officer. But after a mission with his partner goes horribly wrong, August ends up with Coy’s dead grandmother on his hands, and Coy thinks he’s the murderer. Worst of all, his partner discovers his secret.

August is a shifter. And now he’s Coy’s cellmate. Coy and August must survive each other, abusive guards, and a scientist hell-bent on forcing Coy into a breeding program.

Teamed up, the pair escape prison and journey across the country. With the Registry hot on their trail, they have enough things to worry about. Falling for each other wasn’t supposed to be one of them.

Excerpt

King of the Fire Dancers
S.T. Sterlings © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

There were two things that Coy Conlin was exceptionally skilled at. The first was dancing. The second, and more unconventional, was turning into a dragon. Both were in his blood and took years of trial and error to perfect, but the former wasn’t a danger to those around him. It wasn’t easy maneuvering a dragon body, especially not one as big as his. Dragons had claws, scales, and fangs. He even had the misfortune of retaining his proneness to seasonal allergies, which sure as hell took explosive sneezing to a whole new level. Still, thanks to his grandmother—a dragon shifter like him—he’d mastered shifting and everything that it entailed from a young age.

Like hunting.

His prey was a slender boy with white skin and blue eyes. The boy raced past, auburn hair catching the wind and blowing about his head. He scurried through the dried grass, his pale, gangly legs kicking up dirt as he rushed to hide behind a large tree. Laughter disguised as a growl escaped Coy’s mouth. As if a mere tree would provide the boy sanctuary.

Coy hated flying. Dragon or not, he preferred to keep his feet—and claws—securely grounded. But, humans were often smarter than they looked, and he knew that if he continued to creep along the ground, the boy would feel the vibrations caused by his heavy footsteps. And so, he pushed off, sharp talons grazing earth as he hovered above the coarse ground. His wings, as wide as sails on a cutter, pierced the air and sent forward a powerful gust of windblown, dusty dirt. He flapped them again, creating a mini dirt storm between himself and the tree and, most importantly, his prey.

A shower of prickly leaves and thin, brittle branches fell to the ground. Seconds later, the boy emerged from behind the tree, arms up and over his head, shielding himself from the downpour. Amidst the cascading debris, Coy caught the look of determination on the boy’s face. Wedged tightly in the boy’s grip was a rock, jagged and angled, the tip pointing toward the sky. A rock? Really? A puny, misshapen hunk of slate? What good would that do against a ninety-foot-long dragon with scales as black as onyx and five times as hard?

A rock.

The little idiot.

The boy let out a wail of a battle cry and charged forward, gripping the rock in his hand like a warrior wielding a sword. There were hundreds of ways Coy could have reacted, and most would have ended with the boy dead on his feet. Instead, he stood there, a beacon of massive power and pride, and allowed the boy to attack. He didn’t feel the impact of the rock smashing against his leg, though he did see the resulting blood. It wasn’t his. It would have taken much more than a rock to puncture his scales.

It was the boy’s.

The force behind the thrust of his hand had caused the rock to ricochet off a section of scales and created a shallow cut in the center of his reddened palm.

Coy had been specific with the rules—no blacking out, no crying, and no bloodletting. If any of those happened, the game ended immediately. And, although the human tried to hide it, he was definitely bleeding.

“No, wait. I’m okay. I swear it. I’m fine. Look. It barely—”

The protest fell on deaf ears—literally. Coy couldn’t hear—or see—anything during the transformation. It was as if he were alone in a black, soundproof room, nothing but darkness and depth and the feeling of endless falling. His heart rate quickened, slamming against his chest like a musician’s calloused hands pounding against a hand drum. He inhaled through his nose, focusing on the rhythm and physically and mentally controlling the pace of his heartbeat. He calmed his mind, grasping at emotions pulsing like lightning, smoothing them out until his vision began to return. First, blurs of colors: reds and browns and a single blob of white standing directly in front of him.

Then, all at once, everything returned.

“It’s barely a scratch,” the boy muttered, folding his pale arms over his chest.

“Too bad,” Coy replied, rubbing at his jaw. It felt good to use his vocal cords again. He was incapable of speech as a dragon, just limited to snarls and hisses…and fire breathing. That last one came in handy. “Rules are rules, Ari.”

Ari—Coy’s adopted brother—frowned. “You didn’t even give me a chance.”

“A chance to what?” Coy rolled his shoulders in an attempt to relax some of the tension in his muscles that came from shifting. “Find another rock? What was that supposed to do?”

He trudged away from his younger brother, crushing dead grass beneath his bare soles. He spotted his discarded sarong lying by a fragment of slate, the latter’s golden-brown surface highlighted with speckles of fiery red. The color was reminiscent of his own skin, warm brown with red undertones—the exact opposite of Ari’s. Even if Ari had somehow managed to slightly injure him with his dumb rock, the bruise would have been difficult to see. One of the many perks of having brown skin was that it didn’t display bruises well. Growing up, that played to his advantage with the number of fights he got into.

Ari pouted. “It was the only thing I could think of.”

“Yeah, well.” Nude, Coy bent down to retrieve his sarong. “That type of thinking is going to get you killed. Or worse, you’ll get your ass kicked.”

Ari rubbed his bloody hand against his sweat-soaked tunic. “How can getting beat up be worse than dying?”

Coy watched as the blood stained the faded fabric. Ari had already outgrown most of his clothes. What he had left was either tainted or torn. Coy would have to take up private performances at this rate just to make sure he could afford to buy Ari clothes.

“If you’re dead, you won’t have me around to rub it in.” He grinned at Ari and then motioned toward the open wound on his hand. “Better not let Dinina see that. You know how she gets.”

He wrapped the thin, cobalt-colored sarong around his waist, securing the two ends into a knot. They’d spent half the morning outside, which meant he’d spent just as long in his dragon form. He’d be exhausted later, but it was worth it. He always had fun hanging out with his little brother. Still, he felt like he was forgetting something.

And then he remembered.

“Shit!” he shouted, the sound so loud and sudden that it startled an unkindness of ravens perched in a nearby tree.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” Ari asked, blue eyes wide with concern.

There were several things wrong, and all of them could be summed up with two words.

“The Registry.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

ST Sterlings is a librarian, and a mother of two (two boys, and one exhausting female GSD). She’s an avid fan of LGBTQ romance, and also loves the horror genre. She’s from Hampton, VA, but currently lives in Lancaster, CA.

Website |Twitter | Goodreads

Tour Schedule

8/14    MillsyLovesBooks

8/15    MM Good Book Reviews

8/15    Erotica For All

8/16    The Novel Approach

8/16    Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

8/16    Drops of Ink 

8/17    V’s Reads 

8/18    Love Bytes Reviews

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Book Blitz for Misha Paige’s Beast of a Time (Hellbound Hound #1)

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Blurb
 

Everyone’s heard stories or songs about being a beast of burden. Well, it’s quite a burden to be a beast, too.

Kane isn’t like most people: he’s not human, for one thing. What he is, is exceptional.


An event from his past led him to stay on Earth, a planet of people that were often scared and hostile to his kind. Even so, Kane ignored all the hateful things said to him and focused instead on the job he chose to do.

That job is everything to him, and it’s his reason for living. When one man shows up—Al, a new hire who keeps smiling at Kane when he should be looking at him with fear and distaste—Kane is faced with a challenge he never expected. He didn’t think anyone would ever truly want him, and to discover that a very sexy, handsome man does indeed want him, shakes Kane to his core.

Despite Kane’s best attempt’s at keeping distance between them, he finds himself partnered with Al. Kane knows he needs to push Al away, and he tries. Sort of.

Al isn’t scared off like Kane’s former partners, and if he and Kane can survive the fight that’s coming for them, then maybe they’ll have a chance to discover what it means to love.

Author Bio


Misha Paige is the pseudonym of a stay at home mom of four whose favorite way to relax has always been reading. After years of hearing voices in her head, she finally decided to set them free and hopefully entertain others.

She is lucky enough to have the support of her wonderful husband even if he is shocked by what she writes.

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Review Tour – Clare London’s Peep Show (giveaway)

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Length: 16,000 words
 
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
 
Blurb
 

Ever wanted to spy secretly on other people’s lives?


Ken doesn’t have a choice: his student summer job is manning the CCTV screens for the new central London shopping mall. But instead of spotting criminals or vandals, he becomes fascinated by a cute waiter from the local bistro who sneaks out to the backyard for his break—and plays sexy to the camera.


Is he an old friend, or just an anonymous exhibitionist? Should Ken be excited by this naughty peepshow, or will people think he’s a voyeuristic pervert? Poor Ken’s confused and thrilled in turn. It’s like living in one of the movies he’s studying at university. He knows the man can’t see him, yet Ken feels a connection of some kind. It all encourages Ken to continue with his guilt-ridden Waiter Watch.


Ken bears the suspense as long as he can, until a chance meeting and an abortive blind date provide the explanation to the secret assignations. But will this guide Ken to a real-life chance of romance?


First Edition published by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2013.

 

August 2 – Out of My Head
August 4 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews
August 7 – BooksLaidBareBoys
August 9 – MM Good Book Reviews
August 14 – Sarandipity Reviews, Xtreme Delusions, Zipper Rippers
August 16 – Making It Happen, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Nessa’s Book Reviews
August 18 – Bayou Book Junkie


 

Author Bio

Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.


Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.


All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!



Website: http://www.clarelondon.com
Blog: http://clarelondon.livejournal.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
Facebook chat: https://www.facebook.com/groups/clarelondoncalling/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clare_london
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon

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